On November 6th you will be given the opportunity to invest
in Canton on two different referendum issues. The first is for roof repairs.
Most residents understand that this is an investment that we cannot wait on
because the costs borne by all of us will be higher if we wait until there is a
The cost for a track and multi-sport field are equally an
investment in our town though the return is more difficult to quantify. –
First, it is important to realize that over $1,000.000. of the proposed $3.5
million is for important improvements to the parking areas and traffic flow.
The current configuration of the driveway is dangerous and counter to
intelligent traffic flow. It is just a matter of time until some busy afternoon
with cars parked along the east side that someone is hit getting out of their
vehicle; or darting between vehicles.
There are a variety of benefits to the track and
multipurpose field. Let’s start with our pocketbooks. There is an obvious cost
involved with bringing a track and field to town. However, there is a much less
obvious, but still very real cost with not bringing a track and field to our
town. Until the current downturn, we have long been the beneficiaries of
steady, if not increasing home values because of the bucolic nature of
Canton, and our outstanding education system. However, facilities are ever
increasing in their importance as people decide where to purchase a home.
Look at colleges as a good example of where they are investing in order to
attract the best and brightest; it is increasingly in having top notch
facilities. If we don’t invest in such facilities; Canton becomes a less
desirable place for families to consider moving to and that will reduce the
collective value of all of our homes (many local realtors feel that this is
There are health benefits that a track and field to nearly
all of the residents of the town. The ability to have access to a safe and
secure area year round to exercise would be terrific. We would have a flat,
forgiving and measurable area to walk and exercise. A place to bring our kids,
grand kids, or even ourselves to watch or participate.
The ability to have musical and entertainment in a purpose
built; (hopefully eventually) lighted area would be fantastic. Anyone who grew
up in an area where the local sports teams had the ability to host and play
rivals at night games can attest to the sense of community that one feels at
such events. Imagine being able to sit in the stands on a Friday night watching
a sporting event with a marching band entertaining us at halftime.
For a very long time now, the sports infrastructure in
Canton has been riding the bench. Our youth soccer and lacrosse programs are
fortunate that our firemen are gracious enough to allow them to play on the
firemen’s fields…but these are not town fields; and the firemen may at some
point in the future decide that there are better uses for that space. We had
one year to experience soccer without those fields; and anyone who was involved
will tell you that the outcome was not good, if not outright embarrassing when
we hosted away teams. Our boys little league fields are built on a flood plain.
When the CIS playground was reconfigured; there was a ball field that was taken
away with the promise that it was to be rebuilt….that never occurred. Dyer
field is currently where all girls softball games are played and continues to
be on the “short list” of town garage sites. And, of course there is the town
pool; which was identified as needing replacement on the LAST –
10 year Plan of development nearly 15 years ago.
I have heard from several people who have said such things
as” I won’t support the track and field because it doesn’t address my higher
priority town project (such as the pool; or the High School Softball field,
town garage etc.)” – I would ask that you reconsider. I am not sure how the
existence of a multisport field in town adversely affects our wanting and
needing a town pool; having spent many a wet early spring
waiting for the fields to dry; I would have been thrilled at the prospect of
getting a section of dry turf to begin running drills on some of those warm
early spring days.
So, please consider voting yes to the track, field, and
parking improvement project. The cost to the average taxpayer is a couple
of cups of coffee a month, and it will be a very positive step in keeping
Canton as one of the most desirable places to live in the Valley.